But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Thought you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
— Isaiah 41:8-13 NIV

In this passage, God is speaking to Isaiah in a vision about the Israelites, God’s people. He’s reminding the Israelites that, no matter what, He has promised that He would be with them and take care of them by providing His spirit. 

a promise for you

An important point to understand in this message is that this promise is no longer limited to just the Israelites, it includes us, too! This is a major part of the gospel, but to put it as simply as possible: God chose the Israelites as His people that He’d never leave, and then the Gentiles (non-Jew // us) were also included in this promise. Jesus died for both Jews and Gentiles. This is important because this means that you can reread that passage, knowing that God speaks this directly to you as an individual as well.

Take a second just to reread the passage and remember that God directly says this to you, too.

It’s also important to point out that God promises to be with you and to strengthen you (and many other things in this passage). But God doesn’t say, “I’ll make sure your life looks exactly the way you want.” That’s where the risk comes in because, in order for this to comfort you, you have to believe that all it takes to be okay is the Holy Spirit to take care of you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have good things happen or good friends in your life. That just means that you depend on God to provide for your need and fully satisfy your soul. He could do that through the people in your life, opening up a job opportunity, giving you a desire for something that makes you passionate, etc. But the point is that you participate with what’s in your life and that you trust Him to provide for your needs as they come. 

some practical steps

This could be a pretty abstract idea, so here are some suggestions to help this feel more practical and personal. You can try all of these if you want, but I encourage you to at least try one idea this week to start with and add on after that:

1. Choose a portion of this scripture that you have a hard time believing and write it on your hand or a piece of paper that you’ll see every single day this week to remind yourself that it’s true. For example you could write on your hand, “God has chosen me and not rejected me”
2. If you have a hard time fully trusting God (if you’re human, this is you), then take a few minutes out of your week to write down all the things in your life that you have a hard time trusting God with and then pray and ask God to help you trust Him with those things. (Note: Please do not think this means you have to give all of those things up, just ask Him to help you trust Him!)
3. Look for the ways God reminds you that He loves you throughout the day and start writing them down so you’ll notice more. Example: someone could tell you they like your shirt when you weren’t feeling great about your outfit, or maybe you make a new friend when you were feeling lonely, etc.)

pray

God, thank you that you're always trustworthy even when I have trouble believing it. I pray that you would help me learn to trust you better in small ways. You know every one of my fears in this, so I trust you to help ease me into it. I love you. Amen.

- MIchele Houston